I want to be a better fellow traveler. I want to learn to be more helpful as I share a portion of my journey with someone. What does that look like? What do I need to learn to do? How do I walk beside someone in service?
I see life as a journey. We wander along paths of our own making, we follow the paths made by others, we explore venues that interest us, we change directions. We run up against barriers, we float down streams, we sit on a boulder and enjoy the view. Life is fluid and it’s an adventure.
Who is on a similar journey?
No one is going to walk the whole journey beside you. Life doesn’t work that way. But periodically in your life you will travel alongside someone who helps you, or someone whom you help. You share a leg of the journey. You help each other and, working together or alone, you help others. That’s how we travel through life, traveling our own path in the company of others.
How do you recognize the moments we should walk together?
When I finally realized that I wasn’t going in the same direction as anyone else in my senior community, I had to go find a whole new tribe. It took a while for me to realize that that was what I needed to do and a bit longer to figure out where to find the people in my new tribe. I found people online who were going the same direction as me, people on an adventure similar to mine.
You have to want to travel
Not everyone wants to go exploring. In fact, few do. And those of us who do have learned to stand alone and are willing to travel alone. We understand ourselves and are eager to deepen our song. We are adventurers, curious explorers with a passion for life.
Recognize the shape of your own journey
Some of us take really long journeys. Others make short trips, they sort of put their toe in the water. Others train for a long-distance swim. There’s no right or wrong way to move ahead, there’s simply your unique journey.
The more I allow myself to be immersed in the direction I’m going, the more relevant my work becomes. I understand why I’m taking this particular journey. I open myself to explore whatever shows up. I trust. I relax and let life unfold.
Many of us are seeking to sing a deeper song but we’re at different levels on our journey, different degrees of awareness. I seldom know what the members of my tribe take from me but I do know what I get from them. So I continue along the path, seeking to walk beside them for part of our journey.
When do you know when to part?
At some point we will part ways. Each of us will move in a more specific direction and take separate paths. The more refined your focus, the more alone you will be. You’ll have to gather bits and pieces of inspiration and insight from various sources. The possibility of someone walking closely beside you for a long part of the journey is slim. But there will always be others to shed their light on your path just when you need it. Let go and move in the direction that calls to you.
How do you help others on the path?
Sometimes helping others along the path is deliberate, sometimes seemingly accidental. The bottom line is to be aware that you’re on a path with others, all of you on a journey, not all going in the same direction. Begin to see how you can give someone a helping hand, or share news of a route you found, or alert them to a bump in the road ahead.
I have an online friend with whom I exchange emails full of self-questioning and soul-searching. Each time I respond to his email, I learn something. It works that way for him too.
I write my posts and podcasts to figure things out that resonate with me. When I share them, they also help others. I know because people tell me. How and why I help are mysteries to me, but I’m changing lives. I thought about trying to figure out the why and how, but decided to relax and follow my passion and instinct and this powerful drive I have to explore in a certain direction.
You help others simply by being true to your own journey.
You can hold their hand
The choices of how you serve others on the path vary with personalities – both yours and theirs. Figuratively holding their hand as they move through a process is one way. Life coaches are an example of that.
You can teach them
People who create systems for others to follow leave strong marks on the trail and guide others in a certain direction. Entrepreneurs who teach a system do this.
You can mark the trail
I think I fall into this category. My writing follows my own exploration, explains my discoveries and shares how I put my new insights to work. It’s not about teaching, it is about being a trail blazer, an explorer, a seeker who leaves markers on the trail. I know many people in this category. People traveling as explorers have interaction with other travelers but mostly in short periods of exchanging or gleaning information before making a decision to move on.
You can leave a map
These are the thinkers who come to a conclusion and tell you why they think that way. It is up to you to read their “maps”, look at the topography they discovered and plan your own journey.
You can outgrow your companions
The more you know, the more specialized is the knowledge you need. Once I learn to ski cross country, I can tackle more difficult trails. Maybe you ski better than your companion. Maybe you have a stronger urge for adventure. Maybe you want to ski jump and your companion doesn’t. Know that you will need to find new teachers, guides, seekers and trailblazers depending on where you are in your own journey.
Walk beside someone. Offer them support in a manner that befits your own journey. Take what you need and then be prepared to travel your own path.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider: